Britons earning under the average salary face being unable to live with their foreign spouses in the UK under new migration rules.
Changes to the minimum income for family visas announced by the Home Secretary mean that people may be blocked from bringing their loved ones to Britain under certain circumstances.
James Cleverly said UK citizens must be earning at least £38,700 to sponsor foreign family members wishing to live in the country.
There are instances in which Britons on lower salaries could bring their loved ones over if it is considered unduly harsh for a sponsorship to be denied, but this would be in exceptional cases, it is understood.
Our new immigration plan will mean we decisively cut net migration and create a system that works for the British people. Here are the key points ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/2MV6URg1B2
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) December 4, 2023
The policy is expected to be introduced next spring.
The measure was set out by Mr Cleverly as part of a package of proposals aimed at delivering the biggest ever reduction in net migration after levels soared to a record high.
He said the strategy, along with previously announced plans to limit relatives of foreign students, would bring down numbers by 300,000.
The change to family sponsorship is expected to cut the total by about 10,000 a year.
Mr Cleverly criticised “abuses” of the visa system as he said “enough is enough” while unveiling the plans to the Commons on Monday.
The Office for National Statistics revised its net migration figure to put 2022 at a record of 745,000.
Accounting for the difference between the number of people arriving in the country and those leaving, the figure for the year to June 2023 is estimated to have been slightly lower, at 672,000.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the strategy is “an admission of years of total failure by this Conservative Government”.
The Confederation of British Industry said: “Inflation-busting increases to minimum salary requirements and charges won’t address the shortages that are currently holding back business investment and growth.”